Bing Debuts its Own “Webmaster Guidelines”

Bing LogoSay “congratulations” to Bing everybody! CONGRATULATIONS! I really hope I wasn’t the only one shouting, that would have been really foolish (and strange)… After more than three years since the official launch, Microsoft’s search engine Bing finally has its own Webmaster Guidelines!

As Duane Forrester from Bing’s team stated in the announcing blog post, you shouldn’t expect finding in these guidelines deep SEO instructions. The guidelines supposed to serve more as a general standards and protocols of how the search engine works and what practices are recommended or not for webmasters.

Even though Bing’s guidelines aren’t as thorough as Google Webmaster Guidelines, I do think that webmasters should invest a few moments of their time and read them. Perhaps these guidelines won’t flip over all of your SEO perception but they still might sharpen a few uncertain topics you were perplexed about.

Albeit there aren’t great surprises in Bing Webmaster Guidelines, here are few of the interesting points I discovered:

  • Social Signals- Indications from the social media do carry some weight in Bing’s algorithm, although it isn’t clear to what degree. Bing also doesn’t state the particular impact of different social signals such as Like, Tweet or (heaven forbid) +1.
  • Page Load Time- Websites being loaded too slowly can suffer from a decrease in their rankings.
  • Flash, JavaScript and Silverlight- Bingbot still finding it difficult to crawl and read Flash, JavaScript and Silverlight web elements. Therefore Bing recommends not using those technologies for the site’s navigation or other core functionality.
  • Link Schemes- Bing states that link schemes like link farms or three way linking will have no positive effect on rankings. While there isn’t any mention for a negative effect of such links (as Google’s Penguin update) Bing warns that “paying for links is risky.”
  • Social Media Schemes- For the first time, Bing refers not only to regular link schemes but also to social media schemes. Bing elucidates that it can identify social manipulations easily and will devalue those fabricated positive social signals it catches.

In October, Bing search market share in the U.S. climbed to an all time high of 16% and alongside Yahoo’s engine (which Bing also powers) they have in accumulative about 28%, according to comScore. These are not numbers anyone should degrade. Besides, following Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines would probably please Google as well.